Google Analytics has started requesting webmasters permission to share website visitor data with other Google products as well as a benchmarking service.
Analytics account managers have the option to share data with Google products only, with Google products and the benchmarking service or to not share the data at all.
Users choosing to share data with Google products will allow Google to use the information to improve AdWords, AdSense and other Google products. It is stated that the data from these users will not be shared with any third parties. Users opting to share the data with Google products and the benchmarking service will be sharing their information (anonymously) with Google and a host of third parties, including direct competitors.
Benchmarking, however, is not a bad thing. The service will provide webmasters valuable information about how their website is performing in comparison to other websites of the same size in the same industry vertical.
Google will not use the data from the analytics account to determine the website’s organic search engine ranking or its AdWords ad quality score. However, Google will aggregate data from a number of websites and then use it to improve their own services and results, which in turn could affect the website ranking and AdWords performance indirectly.
Further information about the new service can be found on the Analytics Official Blog as well as Analytics help center via the links provided below:
- Google Announcement: Benchmarking now available
- Data sharing FAQ
- Benchmarking service FAQ